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Why a 7-Week Break From Work Took My Business and Team to Record Growth My seven-week sabbatical launched my business to new heights — here's why.

By Aaron Marcum Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • Balance personal growth with professional achievement for entrepreneurial success.
  • Always empower your teams, trust processes, and embrace personal transformation in leadership.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For many entrepreneurs, success feels like a cruel zero-sum game. Previous generations have set the tone that we have to sacrifice personal fulfillment for professional achievement and that genuine commitment requires burning the candle at both ends.

This mindset ate away at me in 2016. I was trapped in what I call the entrepreneur's "lie of the either/or" — a distorted vision that you can either thrive personally or professionally when, in reality, both are possible. During this time, a life full of personal growth and professional success seemed impossible for me to achieve.

Related: The Secret to Your Next Breakthrough? Taking a Break.

This internal conflict sparked a shift in my thinking and how I spent my time. I began investing in myself, carving out time for cycling, a passion I had long neglected. This seemingly simple act of self-care wasn't without consequence. I needed to delegate tasks more within the company to make room for these pursuits. This forced us to confront a harsh reality: was our business model strong enough to support my reduced involvement? It became a crash course in building systems and fostering a culture of trust.

Fast-forward to the fall of 2018. Home Care Pulse, the company I had poured my heart and soul into, had undergone a remarkable transformation. It had become a "self-multiplying organism," humming along with minimal to no day-to-day intervention from me. This newfound stability reinforced a once mere idea into a bold decision — it was time to step down as CEO.

However, before passing the torch, my leadership team proposed that I take a seven-week sabbatical. This would become a final test for me and my team — could the company truly operate without its captain? Even with the groundwork laid, the thought of stepping away was still daunting. Self-doubt had put a lot of pressure on me. Yet, the confidence I had seen blossom in my team motivated me to finally take action. I was optimistic that they wouldn't just survive; they would thrive in my absence.

Related: Taking Breaks Doesn't Make You Lazy — Here Are 4 Ways It Actually Makes You More Productive

From confidence to competence

The first week was a crucible. The urge to check in — to offer guidance and to make sure I was there just in case — was a temptation I constantly battled with. While it was a genuine concern for the company and the team's well-being, honestly, it was a nagging fear of missing out. Thankfully, my wife, the voice of reason, intervened. She reminded me of the sabbatical's true purpose — fostering self-reliance in my leadership team, which is only possible by completely letting them maneuver the ship themselves.

Arguably, the anticipation was initially agonizing. I honestly did not know how they handled the operations and everything. Gratefully, they were champs. They followed the processes we created, adjusted when necessary, and continued to sell our services without skipping a beat.

Once I returned, I was met with a team filled with relief and pride. They walked me through all that's happened during my absence. Their competence and confidence radiated from every word. It was an emotional homecoming that proved what trust and empowerment can do for your company and employees. It honestly brought tears to my eyes as I realized the depth of their growth.

Related: The Case for 14-Hour Workdays — Why New Entrepreneurs Should Embrace the Hustle Before Seeking Work-Life Balance

The power of letting go

The sabbatical solidified my decision to step down as the CEO. Witnessing the team's ability to flourish in my absence confirmed that it was the right time for me to take on a different journey. My entrepreneurial gifts lie more in building new ventures from the ground up.

The company had entered a stage of maturity that required a different kind of leadership, one I no longer felt best suited to provide. Stepping back was a strategic move to allow the company to take a more significant leap forward.

After I left, Home Care Pulse experienced record growth. Instead of feeling it was a blow to my ego, I felt it was more of a validation. It reassured me that I had started something truly amazing and impactful, laying the foundation for the growth it was now experiencing. Without my personal transformation in 2016, the commitment to building robust processes, and, most importantly, trusting my team, the company wouldn't be where it is today. This journey has been incredibly rewarding, a masterclass in the power of letting go.

Today, the company continues to thrive — with its incredible team working hard day in and day out to ensure its success in all aspects. Aside from allowing me to take a long-overdue break, my seven-week sabbatical was also a turning point in building trust and witnessing an incredible transformation for each of us. It was a powerful reminder that true success comes not from clinging to control but from empowering others to take flight.

Aaron Marcum

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Breakaway Home Care Accelerator

Aaron Marcum is the author of #1 Amazon Best Selling book, “EntreThrive – The Entrepreneurs Eight Laws to Accelerate Financial Freedom While Creating The Good Life.”

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